October 23, 1998. Opening Day. Loew's at the Fountains and some Bubba driving a big white pickup got my parking spot. Where's Pleasantville when you need it? How many of you more mature folks on this list were alive in 1958? That's the flashback year for the setting of this flick. Teenage brother and sister in the '90's are fighting over a special remote control that was given to them by the TV repairman (Don Knotts) and - voila - they are transported into TV Pleasantville that is currently being shown on a Nickelodeon type all night marathon of the show that is set in the '50's called "Pleasantville." This town and its inhabitants and the story line are a combination of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" "Father Knows Best" "Twilight Zone" "Back to the Future" and the "Wizard of Oz."
The teenagers are David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon); from a broken home and still young enough to be full of dreams and fears and not have a clue who they really are. So they are good candidates to go off to the land of "Pleasantville" where everything is literally black and white without change, discord, disease, rain, or a missed goal in basketball. And the Ozzie-father comes home everyday from work and hangs his hat, drops his briefcase, and declares "Honey, I'm home." and then Harriet/June Cleaver-mother greets him in flowing dress and pearls. The problem is that our two teenagers that are the children of Ozzie (William H. Macy) and Harriet (Joan Allen) feel compelled to show the dull little folks "the ways of the world" and all heck breaks loose.
This film is a satire of every aspect of American culture: sex, race, nudity, stupidity, and some other idities. I cared what happened to these folks and the towns people, especially the owner of the malt shop played by Jeff Daniels. Dorothy and Toto could have been in this movie and explained to the viewer...."is there someplace where there is no trouble?....do you think it exists, Toto?....maybe somewhere over the rainbow, but no - we don't even have any color here on this farm that's about to get hit by a tornado....but wait, Toto, now that we are in the Land of Oz (Pleasantville) we have color and we can find our dreams in..... in our own backyard ... it was in us all the time.... oh Toto its so good to be home." Rock 'n Roll.